Network at every opportunity and stay in touch with your network!

Librarians, State Library of New South Wales, 1952This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Library vendors/service providers, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Department Head. This job hunter is in a rural area, in the Western US,  and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

1. Job duties that match my interests and qualifications
2. Location. I’m currently in an undesirable location and eager to be elsewhere
3. A good salary to cost-of-living ratio

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, state job list, several listservs, Chronicle of Higher Education,, corporate and academic library websites.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Other: No, but I always wish it were listed.

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I have both a CV and resumé that are up to date as well as five references and PDFs of my unofficial transcripts. My experience is broad and reflected in those documents. The cover letter is the only thing I usually tailor to the application, which can take an hour. The longest part of the application process is usually duplicating all this information into a web form after uploading the documents.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Being taken out to meal
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

1. Give the hiring range of the salary
2. Clearly state the posting and closing dates for accepting applications
3. Give a thorough job description and be careful what you list as “required minimum qualifications” vs. “preferred qualifications.” I’ve seen jobs that list high-level skills as the minimum required but low-level skills as the preferred qualifications. This seems inverted to me.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Communicate openly with candidates as far as you are legally able. If you’ve invited them to the library for a final-round interview, but you plan on hiring your internal candidate anyway, and the external candidate asks you point-blank whether there are any internal candidates interviewing at this stage, be honest.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being an inside candidate and/or knowing the people hiring you is MUCH more important than being a well-qualified candidate, though that’s necessary to get you into the first interview. Network at every opportunity and stay in touch with your network!

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

I’m so glad you are doing this! The process of finding a new/better/perfect job is long and excruciating.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey!

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!


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Filed under Academic, Job hunter's survey, Rural area, Special, Western US

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